AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat said he had to do some “brave racing” on his way to fourth place in the Emilia Romagna GP.
The Russian saved the day for the local outfit after his team mate Pierre Gasly retired with an early engine problem while running in fifth place.
Kvyat started from eighth on the grid and was in seventh place when the race resumed after a late safety car period.
Helped by his fresh tyres he jumped Sergio Perez, Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc to finish the first lap after the restart in fourth place, but despite pushing hard he was not able to do one better and steal third place from Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
It was his best result since he finished third in a high attrition race in Germany last year.
“It was good race, it was a good, strong result,” he said. “And yeah of course now I’m talking and thinking more about the podium, because it was so close.
“Really, really difficult on the restart, but I managed to do some good moves. Daniel just warmed up his tyres. And yeah, it was very hard. Very close until the end, but I had to do some brave racing today. I had some fun today.”
Regarding his charge following the safety car period – that saw a particularly bold move on Leclerc – he explained: “I said, ‘I go for it now,’ after the restart. I felt the confidence, I like the old school tracks. Maybe I’m just an old school guy in the wrong time!”
Kvyat stressed that the team’s form has been improving in recent weeks.
“I believe always more and more in our potential,” he said. “As a team, and me as a driver. And I keep feeling better in the car through the year.
“There are some things that we understand – I mean, my side of the garage understands now – I wish we understood them a bit more in the beginning, how to make the car work a bit better, but we really got there, since Spa it was a good step.
“Pierre has been very fast this year. But since Spa, if you look at it, we were really close and very competitive. And it was a good race today. It’s very important for me to get this weight out, like a very strong result, very strong race, and I’m happy.”
AlphaTauri currently lies in seventh place in the championship, just 14 points behind Ferrari, and beating Italy’s other team remains a target.
“We recovered only a couple of points today. Better than nothing ,” Kvyat added. “Of course, I think it’s going to be a very close battle until the end. It seems like our pace is similar.
“Sometimes in qualifying they look impressive, but in the race we catch up. We’ll try to do our best to beat them in the championship. Of course that’s a target, but we know it’s not easy, and we cannot think about it too much. We just need to focus on our job.”
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